North Hoyle Offshore Wind Farm Celebrates Its 10th Anniversary
RWE Innogy UK’s North Hoyle offshore wind farm celebrates 10 years in operation this month – the first large scale offshore wind farm in the UK to reach such milestone!
It’s a double celebration for the offshore energy leader, as it also marks the installation of all 160 turbines at Gwynt y Môr – its most modern offshore wind farm, in construction just along the North Wales coast.
North Hoyle is a 30 turbine wind farm, with a 60 megawatts (MW) capacity, built in 2003 and declared fully operational in July 2004.
This week, RWE Innogy UK (Innogy) staff celebrated the first decade’s operation of the wind farm, which has pioneered the way forward for the UK offshore industry – now considered a world leader – and marked North Wales as a global offshore energy ‘powerhouse’.
Ten years ago, and Innogy staff who originally helped develop North Hoyle only had onshore wind, and the oil and gas sectors to draw on for perspicacity. Now, the experience gained from North Hoyle has helped Innogy’s offshore team become one of the most knowledgeable in the sector.
Jess Graham was part of the team originally tasked with understanding the energy yield likely to come from the wind farm. She said the work carried out at the time proved to be well informed, yet equally had to rely on a lot of educated assumptions around wind behaviour and anticipated maintenance.
She said: “You’ve got to remember the team was making calculations about offshore wind performance in the UK for the first time ever, and so we had to look at the way things tended to work onshore. There were definitely areas where the knowledge simply did not exist.”
Former operational Manager Adrian Emanuel, based at the Port of Mostyn, was one of the leading lights during construction of North Hoyle, and is now Operations Delivery Manager at Gwynt y Môr.
He said: “It was a pioneering time for everyone. Vessels were adapted from the local fishing community – they certainly were not built for the industry as vessels are today.
“It was a very steep learning curve with skippers being asked to access turbines for the first time. The tidal conditions at North Hoyle meant this was new to everyone. Some skippers had come from one of Europe’s first offshore wind farms in Denmark, which was built just 12 months ahead of North Hoyle, but tidal conditions were very different there.”